1 million blog views: a case study
This blog crossed 1 million page views this weekend. It got there in ten months of blogging every weekday. Not bad.
I try to spend my time looking outward, not inward, but I thought you’d be interested in how I got there.
Steady growth with spikes
Things first took off in May with one popular post on Writing Tips (the numbers shown below apply to that month). The same post surged again in November for no discernible reason. But between those months there was steady growth in attention to my daily posts, with a few ups and down.
A few popular posts plus a very long tail
I made 240 posts since the blog launched. The average daily post gets about 400 views.
The Writing Tips post accounted for nearly two-thirds of all the traffic, accumulating more than 600,000 views.
Putting aside the static pages like the home page, two other posts were popular.
A post about Donald Trump and memes surged this past Sunday, when comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted it for her 7.8 million followers. (I loved Sarah Silverman even before this happened.) That spike drove the post to 55,000 views.
And my September post about Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who would not perform same-sex marriages, racked up 21,000 views.
Three other posts racked up at least 9,000 views: one on Jack Dorsey’s Twitter layoff email, one on how social media marketing is dead, and one with tips on how to write shorter.
While the posts with the most traffic also got a lot of comments, I also got plenty of conversation on my book announcement and my eulogy for my friend Josh.
Facebook drives the most traffic
When it comes to driving traffic, Facebook leaves everything else in the dust, with 473,000 referrals. Whosay.com, the site Sarah Silverman uses to promote content, generated 30,000 views to my blog, more than Twitter. Other sites, including Linked In, generated 28,000 views.
Search engines drove 51,000 views, 99% of which came from Google. The Writing Tips post has bounced around within the top four posts in a search on “Writing Tips” for months, which accounts for the 300 to 500 views it gets every day. This traffic will prove useful when the book launches. The Donald Trump meme post was generating 50 to 100 views a day, mostly from search and subsequent sharing; that’s probably how Sarah Silverman noticed it. It ranks on “Donald Trump People Magazine” and “Donald Trump meme”.
Half the blog traffic is from America
I was surprised that 44% of the traffic came from outside the US, including big chunks from Canada, the UK, Singapore, and Australia.
This is a pretty good gig. I love to write, you love to read, and the Web loves to spread good content. So I’ll keep it up. Any wagers on when I hit 2 million?
You always were an exceptional writer with the heart of a mathematician.
Congratulations Josh. Those are some pretty impressive results. In answer to your question, I bet you’ll get to 2 million views in about half the time it took to hit this milestone. So, my guess is 5 months from now. Congrats again!
Thanks for sharing Josh. Congrats!
Seems writing tips was successful because writing is an important topic related to content marketing (which is hot). Probably also helped you had a handy, shareable graphic. And had it written in ‘tips’ format. Only thing missing was an upworthy title, like “I followed these tips in my writing and something astonishing happened!” 🙂 (oops, you don’t like emoticons). ;-).
This post is obviously shareworthy. Any boss would share it with their content people or writers. Any writers would share it as great truth.
How about writing a post on how these insights will change the way you write this year? If Facebook drives the most traffic, is the key point to make something shareworthy? What are your tips for that?
I have tried to act on these insights, but frankly, my attempts to exploit them haven’t succeeded. You can’t replicate honest good stuff.
I do this:
– Write about the news.
– Write from the heart.
– Try to be useful.
– Use shareable graphics.
– Promote on Facebook and Twitter.
– Use keywords, but don’t distort the title just to fit them in.
Then you just get up the the plate and swing every time. Sometimes it’s a grand slam, and sometimes it’s a dribbler back to the pitcher.
What a lovely gift to other bloggers. Thank you.